Taken exclusively from the collection of Gwendoline and Margaret Davies, the granddaughters of Welsh industrialist David Davies, these works document a revolution in style, tone and technique that was to alter the course of art dramatically. Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism were reactions against the affects of Industrialization as well as the narrow-mindedness of the academic Salons.
Filling three rooms on the second level, the exhibit showcases works by Bargue, Bevan, Bonnard, Boudin, Carriere, Cezanne, Corot, Daumier, Derain, John, Manet, Mauve, Meissonier, Millet, Monet, Moret, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir, Seguin, Sickert, Signac, Sisley, Smith, Stevens, Turner, van Gogh, Vlaminck, and Whistler.
The Davies sisters’ early recognition of the importance of these artists is also on display. “The show really tells two stories and the stories are interwoven,” said Beatrice Gralton, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art. “The stories are of the development of 19th and 20th century painting from Turner to Cezanne and also of the Davies sisters, who at the age of 25, when they came into their inheritance, started collecting works of art. And they collected in a considered and intuitive way – they had a very good eye.”
Around 800 people attended the member’s preview, and special guests included Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the British Ambassador, and his wife, Julia Dunne; George King, Director of the American Federation of Arts; and Alun Ffred Jones, Minister for Heritage, Welsh Assembly Government.
Turner to Cezanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection, National Museum Wales opens January 30 and runs through April 25 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Check out their website for lecture, educational and outreach programs related to the show.